Lewisburg Council moves forward to annex land near Oak Grove Elementary School

Friday, April 14, 2017
The Lewisburg City Council honored Polly Barnes for the service to the city at the Lewisburg Recreation Center. Director of Parks and Recreation Cary Whitesell praised Barnes for her 23 years of dedication to the department, saying that her respect for the rules had impressed a generation of golfers. Barnes started as a golf course marshal at the Rec Center in 1994 after her retirement from ICP. Pictured from left: Councilman Artie Allen, Barnes, Whitesell, and Barnes’ niece, Annette Hargrove.
Tribune photo by Scott Pearson

Lewisburg is preparing to get a little bit bigger after passing the first reading an annexation request at the council’s monthly meeting on Tuesday.

Councilmen passed on first reading a resolution to annex property, at the request of the landowners, on Highway 431.

The 104-acre parcel borders the north side of Oak Grove Elementary School.

The owners of the property are listed as Peggy Stanley and Crawford Fortune Jr. of Madison, Ala. according to property records.

While Mayor Jim Bingham and City Manager Randall Dunn were close-lipped about potential plans for the site, it seems likely that the owners have an eye on some sort of residential development.

City officials have been discussing the need for more housing in the city for the last few months, especially at the higher price and amenity level sought by professional or management type buyers.

The council had Common Ground, the city’s planning consultant, develop tax increment financing guidelines for the city to use as an incentive for developers interested in such a project.

A TIF directs the property taxes generated by the new housing back to the developer for a period of time to offset the construction costs of infrastructure, like roads, sidewalks, and water and sewer lines, for which the developer is responsible during construction.

The resolution was a late addition to the council’s agenda. While the property annexed by Chapel Hill on Monday night has been discussed for months, the request for this Lewisburg property had not even featured at the council’s work session the previous Monday afternoon.

The council also approved a budget increase for the city’s biggest annual festival.

Goats, Music, and More co-chairs, Pam Davis and Gina Jones, had asked the council for the increase at their Monday work session.

“To continue like we want to continue,” Davis said, “we are going to have to pay more for our entertainment.”

Davis said that, essentially, the festival has booked all of the available acts within their target range of headline acts that are also in their current budget range.

“We have depleted the group of who we can afford,” she said.

As it stands now, Davis said, booking agents wouldn’t even talk with the festival at their current budget level for big-name acts.

Councilman Steve Thomas said that, as best he could recall, the budget for the festival had been unchanged for at least the last seven years.

The city puts $80,000 into Goat Fest to cover musical acts, tent and equipment rentals, and other expenses. Booth rentals and sponsorships usually offset most of those upfront costs. City Treasurer Donna Park said the net difference each year equaled roughly $20,000.

The council voted to increase the city’s contribution by $10,000.

The council approved Lewisburg Police Chief David Henley’s request to declare property held by the police department surplus. An auction is scheduled for May 13 in order to dispose of old police vehicles, as well as vehicles seized by the department due to criminal activity.

Surplus equipment from Lewisburg Electric Service is also included in the sale, which will take place at the city impound lot of Fifth Avenue.

Council also approved the transfer of a surplus tractor from the Lewisburg Ellington Airport to the Lewisburg Water and Waste Water Department.